A Change Of Pace

Mullet Over
Year of the ox

By James K. White | February 18, 2009

Concerned about your health as of late? The United Health Foundation and some partners recently ranked Vermont as the healthiest state in America.

To all of our alert readers out there, you will want to know that 2008 was the year of the rat. In case you know any rats (two or four legged), the next rat year will be in 2020. 2009 is the year of the ox, so do not continue to date your checks with rats.

The Ukraine is a country about the size of Texas and has 46,000,000 inhabitants (which are the same as people) and is the second largest country in Europe. The nation enjoys a 99.4 percent literacy rate. That is an impressive statistic.

When John Quincy Adams was a youth, he worked as a translator in the court of Catherine the Great. Later he left that job and became president of the United States (1824). After being President, JQA served 17 years in the House of Representatives. It was while he was a member of the House that he successfully argued before the Supreme Court while representing 39 captives who had been aboard the slave ship Amistad.

We never know what strange paths our careers might take: Pat Sajak of Wheel of Fortune fame was once a disc jockey in Viet Nam.

Anson Jones was the last president of the Republic of Texas. Texas came into the Union in 1845 as the 28th state. Poor old Anson committed suicide in 1858.

To all you prospective fathers of the brides out there in newspaper land: Where are you obtaining dresses for the special events? When Grace Kelly married to become royalty, she commissioned the famous Texas establishment Neiman Marcus to design and make her bridesmaids’ gowns. I am just trying to be helpful.

Scientists estimate that it takes about 30 days for a satellite to fall to earth from a height of 190 miles.

Recent data indicates that 37% of American households include dogs as pets. Similarly, 32% of the homes have cats. Here is the unexpected: There are some 10 million more pet cats than pet dogs because so many people “have” (read “feed”) more than one cat.

Well, good luck to all you oxen types (supposed to be calm and dependable) – and everyone have a splendid week.


The Proposal

When a company falls on difficult times, one of the things that seems to happen is they reduce their staff and workers. The remaining workers need to find ways to continue to do a good job or risk that their job would be eliminated as well. Wall street, and the media normally congratulate the CEO for making this type of "tough decision," and his board of directors gives him a big bonus.

Our government should not be immune from similar risks. 

Therefore: Reduce the House of Representatives from the current 435 members to 218 members and Senate members from 100 to 50 (one per State). Also reduce remaining staff by 25%.

Accomplish this over the next 8 years (two steps / two elections). This would require some redistricting.

Some Yearly Monetary Gains Include:
$44,108,400 for elimination of base pay for congress. (267 members X $165,200/ member/yr.)
$97,175,000 for elimination of the above people's staff. (Estimate $1.3 million in staff per each member of the House, and $3 million in staff per each member of the Senate every year)
$240,294 for the reduction in remaining staff by 25%.
$7,500,000,000 reduction in pork barrel ear-marks each year. (those members whose jobs are gone. Current estimates for total government pork earmarks are at $15 billion/yr)

The remaining representatives would need to work smarter and would need to improve efficiencies. It might even be in their best interests to work together for the good of our country! Smaller committees might lead to a more efficient resolution of issues as well. It might even be easier to keep track of what your representative is doing.

Summary of opportunity:
$ 44,108,400 reduction of congress members.
$432,100,000 for elimination of staff. 
$97,175,000 for 25% reduction of remaining house and senate staff. 
$7,500,000,000 reduction in pork added to bills by the reduction of congress members.
$8,073,383,400 per year estimated total savings. ($8 BILLION just to start!)

If Congresspersons were required to serve 20, 25 or 30 years (like everyone else) in order to collect retirement benefits there is no telling how much we would save. Now they get full retirement after serving only ONE term.